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Summer Spark Academy + STEM Summer Spark

The Summer Spark Academy + STEM Summer Spark will take place June 20 - July 21, 2023

The Summer Spark Academy is Northern Kentucky University’s five-week summer bridge program that provides all incoming first-year students with the opportunity to acclimate to college while earning college credit, all before classes even start in the fall!

This year, we're excited to share the STEM Summer Spark will be combined with the Summer Spark Academy to provide the most customizable experience for all students.

Registration for Summer 2023 is now OPEN. Check your email for the special invitation.



Why Participate in the Summer Spark Academy?

“It has opened so many doors for me on campus, and it allowed me to get an insight to what college is really like.”

- 2016 Summer Spark participant

"This proved to be THE BEST decision for him and made all the difference with his start into college. As it happened, because of the individual attention and accessibility of the professors and tutors, my son was able to work ahead and complete all of the course requirements.”

- Parent of a Summer Spark student

Are you a student who wants to get a head-start transitioning into your first year of college by getting to know campus, meeting new people, and experiencing college first-hand? Or maybe you're a student who's a little nervous about college, and you want the opportunity to ease into your first year so you're ready for the start of classes? If you said "yes" to either of these, the Summer Spark Academy is designed just for you.


The Summer Spark Academy is purposefully designed to help students prepare for the rigors and pressures of college.

By participating in the Summer Spark Academy before your first semester at NKU, you’ll have the unique opportunity to:

  • Complete course(s) required for graduation with an NKU faculty member;
  • Receive up close and personal support by NKU faculty, staff, and your peers through small class sizes and peer-led academic study sessions;
  • Learn to navigate the structure and rigor of college;
  • Engage in valuable out-of-the-classroom programming geared to your academic success and personal development at NKU;
  • Build lasting relationships with your peers through campus and social activities;
  • Access all campus resources and services to help you smoothly transition into your first year of college; and
  • Experience all of this and more at a significantly reduced rate.


Who Can Participate in the Summer Spark Academy?

The Summer Spark Academy + STEM Summer Spark is open to ALL incoming first-year NKU students. We cater and customize the Summer Spark Academy + STEM Summer Spark courses and experiences around the student's pre-college coursework and major of interest. Regardless of high school grades and test scores, we will work with you to select courses that will best help you transition into NKU.

The Summer Spark Academy will take place on campus.



The cost for this year's Summer Spark Academy program will be $295.

This cost INCLUDES everything you will need for courses and all activities/experiences, including the daily lunch and parking.

All course credits earned during the Summer Spark Academy are applied to your NKU degree requirements!

Please note: Financial assistance may be available to those who qualify, but assistance is limited. Inquiries about financial assistance should be sent to


Courses and Schedule

The Summer Spark Academy + STEM Summer Spark will offer a variety of courses for 2023. Depending on pre-college course work and major of interest, some students will be placed in courses that align with their academic success. The 2023 courses are as follows:

Morning Courses (9:00 – 11:00 a.m.)

  • Math Preparation: (0 Credit Hours) - A variety of measures, including test scores (if available), HS GPA, and coursework will be used to direct students to an initial math skills assessment appropriate for their mathematical background and target major. Once the initial assessment is completed, participants will work through mathematical content in small groups with an instructor and peer mentors. As students refresh their math skills, they will have multiple opportunities to retake the skills assessment with the goal of improving their mathematics course placement. While this will not include awarding college credit, improved and accurate course placement does provide a long-term cost benefit. Many students who see improved placement, particularly those majoring in STEM disciplines, will also gain access to entry-level coursework within their major.
  • ENG 101W: College Writing (4 credit hours), General Education Course - Study and practice of writing process and writing with attention to audience, purpose, and conventions appropriate to writing situation; use of workshop model for enhanced instruction in reading, writing, and analyzing a variety of texts, including written, digital, or visual.
  • LIN 175: Information Literacy (3 credit hours), General Education Course - A foundational course that introduces students to the cross-disciplinary skills needed to assess information needs, and access and evaluate information sources.
  • SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology (3 credit hours), General Education Course - Sociology is the scientific study of society. More specifically, it is the study of ways in which humans construct meanings and organize social relationships and activities. This discipline seeks to develop students’ ability to observe and think critically about their own and other societies and to become more sensitive to behavioral and value differences among people (which powerfully shape attitudes and opinions). Students will learn that sociological concepts, theories, and methods are powerful analytical tools for making connections between personal problems and larger social issues and for understanding how local, regional, national and global communities are intertwined. Such understanding and skills will facilitate decision-making and constructive ethical and responsible action to address the issues we face today.

Afternoon Courses (varied days, typically between 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

  • BUS 201: Haile Professionals – College of Business (1 credit hour), Business pre-majors or majors - Develops business professionalism and prepares students for successful internship and career employment interviews. Prepares students to leverage their accomplishments and academic preparation in creating and maintaining professional, career-oriented resumes.
  • CEP 101: Career Development (2 credit hours), Elective Course - Comprehensive overview of the career planning process; techniques of self-assessment and career exploration; skills of decision making and job search. Strongly encouraged for students who are undeclared, undecided, or uncertain about their major starting college. NOTE: Offered Monday through Thursday from 1:00 - 2:40 p.m. (Tuesday through Thursday classes only).
  • HSC 101: Introduction to Health Professions (3 credit hours), Elective Course - A course providing an overview of current health care systems and roles of various health care practitioners, to include communication, safety, professionalism and trends in the delivery of health care. Strongly encouraged for students interested in health profession majors or health-related career fields.
  • LIN 175: Information Literacy (3 credit hours), General Education Course - A foundational course that introduces students to the cross-disciplinary skills needed to assess information needs, and access and evaluate information sources.
  • SCI 100 and 101 (2 credit hours), STEM Freshman Seminar and Introduction to STEM Careers - (1) Introduction to college for current and potential STEM majors with a focus on developing self-reliance and familiarization with university resources, (2) Introduction to degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), engaging students in discovery and discussion about the nature of the disciplines, distinctions and connections between them, and opportunities within them.

The Summer Spark Academy runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (lunch is provided as part of the cost to attend).

Afterwards, students are free to work or engage in other summer activities, if needed. Students have the opportunity to meet with a tutor or their faculty before and after the program, as well.



Registration will open in late March.



If you have any questions, please email us at or call 859-572-5220 or 1-800-637-9948.



Summer Spark Track and Cost




Federal legislation requires institutions of higher education to inform prospective members of our community about its most recent crime/incident statistics; crime prevention; security programs and activities; policies concerning the reporting of crime; and related information in accordance with the Campus Security Act, commonly referred to as the Clery Act. Upon request, you can obtain a paper copy of the university’s Annual Campus Security Reports by contacting the NKU Police Department, 419 Old Johns Hill Road, Highland Heights, KY 41099 or calling 859-572-5746. This information is also available on the NKU Police Department’s website at